Category Archives: North Carolina

August Wildflowers

Right now, we are in the last few weeks of summer, and to be honest, I just want fall to be here. I feel like I’ve been in a creative slump as far as my photography goes, the heat, the bugs, early sunrises, and crowds make it difficult to get out. Also, some of my favorite hiking areas are still closed due to damage from Hurricane Florence last September.  But still, there is plenty of beauty around me, if I just take the time to appreciate it. Like these pretty wildflowers I found around my yard. Bee Balm. I love the interesting, multi tiered structure of these flowers. Groundnut, Apios Americana. These flowers are easy to overlook because of their marron, brownish color, but up close they are quite pretty. Also, they are a perennial edible legume. So I may have to do some more research into these and add them to my garden. Wild grapes. These don’t taste good, I’ll just leave them for wildlife to forage. *all photos taken and edited with my iphone

2 Perfect Days on Ocracoke Island

Today, we are preparing for Hurricane Florence, but a week ago we had a few absolutely perfect beach days at Ocracoke Island.

Beautiful sand dunes on the island, which is part of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore. Like most all the islands of the Outer Banks, Ocracoke is just a narrow strip of sand, less than half a mile wide in most places, but with 12 miles of beach.

It’s pretty great bringing the trucks to the beach, I don’t have to carry anything, and the big canopies keep me from getting sunburnt!

A pretty back road I spotted on my morning hunt for coffee.

Finally, some good weather!

In spite of the broken hand, I think this last week has been the best so far this summer. Up ’til now it’s been very rainy. But this week the weather has been mostly sunny and I have a small splint on my hand instead of a cast.

A roseate spoonbill! Seeing this rare bird was pretty exciting. Normally their range is Florida, not North Carolina.

Beach day on Bird Shoal Island.

Evening at the Atlantic Beach fishing pier. There is a bar out at the very end and we had a few drinks while the sun set.

Hiking at Fort Macon State Park

I really feel like I’ve been busy lately, I just cant figure out doing what? I did take some time to go for a hiking this past week though. I was at a favorite state park, Fort Macon, which is only about 15 minutes from my house. I got a beautiful, blue sky day.A view of the ocean where the trail goes over some tall dunes. Even though it has started to feel like spring, you can see that the grasses are all still brown.Quiet scene on the marsh.My girl, Sasha. With four dogs, I try to make sure they each get enough attention, so I alternate which ones I take hiking with me.

Oceanana Fishing Pier

Last week, on a beautiful 60 degree day, I took Odin to the beach. I think it may have been his first time at the ocean, because he came from Nevada. He didn’t seem to care about the waves one way or another, but he was very interested in the seagulls. We’ve had him for about 6 weeks now, and overall he is a very sweet dog, who settled into the pack amazingly well. Even if he does like to put everything in his mouth.  I don’t often come to this part of the beach, probably because the state park is so close, but this time I wanted to take photos of one of the fishing piers. I could not have asked for a better day. The light was beautiful, the golden hour, just before sunset. And it was warm, about 60 degrees.

Even after 10 years in the south, it still amazes me to see the beach empty when we get a 60 degree day in January. When I lived outside of Boston I would have seen more people walking the beach if the temperature was only 25. It was nice not to have to wait for people to get out of my pictures though, and it was easy to find parking.

 

SNOW!!!

I get ridiculously excited about snow. At least I do now that I don’t have to shovel it. Or worry about the train being delayed and making me late. Here in Coastal North Carolina we don’t get snow very often, and this is the first time I’ve seen actual accumulation in the four and a half years we’ve lived here. Usually its less than an inch, and it melts quickly. In this storm we got about 3 inches, and it has started to melt, but its mostly stayed around for several days. Its been really nice taking the dogs for walks in the snowy woods, a change of scenery without leaving my property. And of course working from home means I don’t have to travel around on the dangerous roads. Of course, I did stock up on beer and cookies before the storm hit. That left me free to roam around the yard in my pajamas at 7:00 am to take pictures because I was afraid it would all melt.

I was hoping for some ice. We got some a few years ago, and it was really pretty. We didn’t get much ice this time, but there was enough to create these beautiful crystal covered branches.

This is a yaupon holly, a native plant that was used to make a caffeinated tea. There are several of them growing wild around our property. I love the bright red berries in the brown winter landscape, and I frequently bring branches into the house for decoration, but I think they look extra pretty with this light dusting of snow.How is your winter going? Do you love or hate snow?

Climbing the Cape Lookout Lighthouse

I might not be able to take pictures of fall foliage quite yet, but I did get to climb a lighthouse this weekend, on the Cape Lookout National Seashore.

The lighthouse and keeper’s residence.

It was 207 steps to reach the top, and my legs definitely felt it, but this amazing view was worth the effort!  Seeing the Outer Banks from this vantage point makes you realize that the islands really are just a narrow strip of land, an overgrown sandbar really, less than half a mile wide in most places.

Looking North along the South Core Banks. Looking East towards the Beach and the Atlantic Ocean.There is no bridge to this part of the Outer Banks, so you have to take a boat to get there. Not only is it a beautiful ride, but also it makes the islands pretty empty. You might have to hike a little, but even on a “busy” day you can find a patch of solitude.

Shackleford Banks, viewed from the ferry, not the top of the lighthouse.